This article explores the early music of fanny hensel and her relationship with her father, Felix Mendelssohn. It also explores the composer’s relationship with his daughter. Mendelssohn referred to fanny as “Minerva.”
Felix Mendelssohn referred to fanny as “Minerva”
At nine and twelve, Felix and Fanny Mendelssohn began writing together and performing in public and private concerts. They became close and Felix Mendelssohn referred to his sister as “Minerva” after the goddess of wisdom. In 1818, Felix began composing for orchestra and performed for his sister. Fanny encouraged her younger brother to write, and Felix began submitting compositions to her.
As a child, Fanny Hensel studied with Marie Bigot, who was a Paris violinist. Though she did not compose any symphonies, she was considered a virtuoso on the violin. Her son Felix Mendelssohn referred to her as “Minerva” and called her his “Father.”
The relationship between Felix Mendelssohn and his sister Fanny Mendelssohn was deeply rooted in melodic correspondence. She was careful and observant, helping Felix by giving useful analysis of his compositions. Her critical eye was invaluable in improving the work of Felix. Felix often revised his pieces exclusively after Fanny’s suggestions. Her careful approach earned her the nickname “Minerva” in Felix’s honor. The two eventually married, and their only child was Sebastian Hensel. Unfortunately, Fanny suffered two unnatural birth cycles and two stillbirths.
fanny hensel’s relationship with her father
Fanny’s relationship with her father was complicated, to say the least. Her father discouraged her from publishing her works, and as a woman, she lacked the perfect portfolio of larger compositions. She was in two minds about publishing, but in the end, she published one lied. She also expressed her satisfaction with the success of the album, Die Schiffende. Even when she was ill, she continued to compose and perform music, although her father’s discouragement was palpable.
Her father’s influence on her life grew after she met the young artist, Wilhelm Hensel. In 1804, Fanny Mendelssohn’s father, a prominent figure in the Age of Enlightenment, invited Hensel and his family to Berlin to present a tableaux vivant to the imperial Russian throne. According to Theodor Fontance, Fanny and her family were among four thousand guests at the royal festivities.
fanny hensel’s early music
Unlike her famous brother, Fanny Hensel was able to pursue her passion for composition. After she married Mendelssohn, she spent two years studying at the Conservatory of Berlin and then toured Italy with her husband. When her mother passed away, she took over the family home in Berlin and began organizing local concerts. She occasionally performed as a pianist. After her death, her brother Felix Hensel published many of her unpublished works.
Although she is often associated with the music of Felix Mendelssohn, Hensel composed exclusively in female genres. Her piano pieces and lieder were especially well suited to female voices. Many of her piano compositions were presented at Sunday musical gatherings. She played piano solo or in ensemble, but rarely performed them publicly. Her family believed that women should not perform publicly. The music was unheard of by most performers, so recordings of her early pieces were few and far between.
her relationship with Felix Mendelssohn
It is no secret that Fanny Hensel was a significant figure in the 19th century musical world. A biography of her brother was published by Oxford University Press in 2010. But what is not widely known is the life of her sister, Fanny Hensel. Her relationship with her brother was so complex that the two composers were not only closely related but shared a symbiotic relationship. This article explores the relationship between the siblings and shows how their relationship affected their artistic careers.
Although Felix was the older brother of Fanny Hensel, the relationship was never as happy as it is now understood. The two had fallen in love, but their relationship became more complicated when their religious views clashed. Although Fanny was a Jewish woman, she was not converted to Catholicism. The relationship between the two lasted for the rest of Felix’s life. While she did not convert to Catholicism, her sister’s relationship with Felix was one of the most important aspects of their lives.
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